ICE Hit & Run vs Members of the Tohono O’odham Nation

There’s a relatively slow-motion hit-and-run occurring on Tohono O’odham Nation land that’s been recorded and now viewed several hundred thousand times. It’s bad enough, though the victim Paulo Remes is reported to be recovering reasonably well by The SUV that hit Remes was an Immigration & Customs Enforcement vehicle that drove down the road approaching Remes’ house, turned around, then came back toward Remes who had just walked across the road and was still on the edge of it when struck. This has all the makings of a felony:

Arizona Revised Statutes Title 28, Section 661:

A. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person shall:

1. Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the accident scene as possible but shall immediately return to the accident scene.

2. Remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of section 28-663.

B. A driver who is involved in an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 and who fails to stop or to comply with the requirements of section 28-663 is guilty of a class 3 felony, except that if a driver caused the accident the driver is guilty of a class 2 felony.

C. A driver who is involved in an accident resulting in an injury other than death or serious physical injury as defined in section 13-105 and who fails to stop or to comply with the requirements of section 28-663 is guilty of a class 5 felony. [emphasis mine – cd]

Moreover, Remes witnessed the vehicle turn on its emergency lights as it was fleeing the scene. While LEO operators emergency vehicles in practice have broad discretion to use their emergency lights, it likely doesn’t extend to aiding one in committing a felony, which could result in more charges if the local prosecutor has any respect for the law. ICE says that they are cooperating with the investigation, but they have to know who was driving the SUV and no arrest appears to have been made at this point so I doubt they’re “fully” cooperating.

But what happened to Remes isn’t even the most serious ICE hit and run on this nation’s land southwest of Tuscon. No, that would be the fatal hit-and-run of Bennett Patricio.

There seems also to have been a deliberate killing of one community member’s dog:

We also got word that a man out in Pisinemo was walking on the dirt road from Pisinemo to Gu’Vo with his two dogs when two Border Patrol trucks approached. The first struck and deliberately ran over his dog, and the second truck aimed for his other when he stepped in front of it and the agent had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the man.

There is a pattern here, and however impossible it might sound to those of us who aren’t targeted by police violence, Remes was actually certain before he was struck that the ICE agent would try to hit him. In fact, when he tells the story of being at the side of the road, he says he was there specifically because he thought the driver would try to hit him:

Remes said he was outside looking for a speaker to listen to music when he saw the Border Patrol vehicle and decided to step out into the dirt road near his home. He said he started filming because he had an idea of what would happen next.

“I ran into the dirt road in front of my house, because I know they’ll try and hit me,” Remes said, adding that he was speaking on a landline to a cousin. “I think he saw me on the landline and didn’t think I was recording.”

I don’t know more than has been reported, but what Tohono O’odham Nation members are saying is that this is a pattern, and though Remes says he ran “into” the road, he actually ran across it before the truck approached and then stood on the roadway but decidedly to one side. There was more than enough time for the truck to stop or avoid Remes and more than enough space on the road to do so. Remes wasn’t throwing himself in front of the truck in any sense, and from the video is clearly standing still for a short bit before he is struck. And even if the driver somehow managed to miss the fact that Remes was standing there, the felony of which the driver is clearly guilty is not assault (though possibly that too) but failure to stop after an injury-causing accident. Remes had no control over whether the driver stopped.

In short, this was in some sense a test of ICE: Remes made it possible for the driver to hit him, but he didn’t make it inevitable. He also recorded what was happening because he strongly suspected that an ICE officer was about to commit a felony…and he was right.

Think about that for a moment. Don’t think about the minor injuries to Remes. Think about the fact that he was confident that a law enforcement officer of the US would run him over if given the chance, and he was right. Think about Remes’ courage in placing his body in harm’s way in order to get the video proving that ICE is engaged in a series of assaults, at least one fatal. Think about being so targeted by police and so barred from any justice that this is what you have to do in order to raise awareness of the problem.

Yeah, ICE is tearing kids away from parents, but ICE officers were shitty long before Trump. If they decide you’re not a real American, your passport won’t matter, and neither will your 13,000 year family history on the land.



  1. says

    I’m not surprised. The representatives of the Tohono O’odham people at the No DAPL camp made a statement at that time about their ongoing fights with border patrol, and declared then that they would always be a sanctuary nation. Border Patrol and ICE have it in for them.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oooh! That’s really helpful context, Caine! Thanks.

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